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Advice for hotels preparing to reopen following Covid-19 lockdown

June 2020

Hotels around the world are having to grapple with the problems of keeping Legionella bacteria at bay while closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With buildings closed for many weeks, the dangers are clear – legionella bacteria breeds in stagnant water.

There’s been reports of maintenance managers living in isolation in hotels and spending their days turning taps and showers on to keep water flowing.

The BBC reported on Will Whelan, who has spent time living in the historic Royal County Hotel, Durham, during lockdown. 

Once a week, Will has to turn each of the Royal County’s 600 taps on for five minutes to release standing water. It can easily take up a day of his time, but prevents bacteria that can cause the lethal Legionnaire’s Disease from building up. In addition, the  hotel’s 170 toilets need to be flushed twice a week, shower heads need sanitising and hoses replacing.

There’s also been a similar case highlighted in Barcelona.

Not all hotels have been able to get maintenance staff to live in. If your hotel, or guest house, has been locked down, you must prepare carefully before beginning to accept guests again.


Lizzie Ward, Managing Director of SAS Water Ltd said: “Where buildings or water systems are isolated during the COVID-19 outbreak, a risk assessment will be required before reopening.

“Stagnant water is among the biggest factors in the growth of Legionella bacteria. We have been working with clients during lockdown to ensure flushing and testing continues. 

“Where hotels and leisure complexes have hot tubs and spa pools, treatment will also be required. All facilities managers should take advice and put regular monitoring routines in place.”

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